Esk Valley Walk Part One

A few days after arriving back in England, officially homeless and unemployed, we headed off to the Fox and Hounds. Despite the owner’s lack of imagination in terms of names, the room was quite nice and the food was good. Even better, the entire town seems to be populated by ukelele players.

By mid-evening, the place was packed, and we were the only ones sans ukelele. Craig tried to take a few photos, you know, because awkwardly taking photos of strangers is man’s work. Sadly, he wasn’t able to get a good shot.

Here a uke, there a uke, everywhere a uke uke.

Here a uke, there a uke, everywhere a uke uke.

Eventually, we got tired of listening to the oddest jam session in history and toddled off to bed. In the morning, we were up and on the moors by 5AM. We basically just followed other people’s paths, a foolhardy method for people as directionally challenged as the pair of us, but we made it back to the hotel just fine.

Only the sheep were up before us.

Only the sheep were up before us.

Hot fun in the summer time.

Hot fun in the summer time.

Along the way, we ran into grouse blinds, which I had never seen before. Craig spent some time as a grouse beater as a kid, so he explained the whole thing to me. It all sounds a bit ridiculous to someone coming from a place where a year-long “Sportman’s Paradise” (read: every animal you might want to kill and eat) license goes for US$100. Apparently, hunters pay £150to shoot grouse one day a year. To make it more exciting, or something, “beaters” (aka teenaged boys) flush the birds, so the hunters can stay in their hides and just shoot. Sounds sporting.

I've seen foxholes that weren't camouflaged that well.

I’ve seen foxholes that weren’t camouflaged that well.

The next morning, we walked a bit of the Esk Valley Walk/ Esk Valley Way, from Danby to Glaisdale. I’m not sure how many miles we put in, but the entire thing is only about 35 miles, so I can safely say we walked not that far. (Craig keeps a spreadsheet of how many miles we walk each day. He has his way, I have mine.)

It was a bit windy on the moors.

It was a bit windy on the moors.

At any rate, the Esk Valley Walkway (since apparently the name is undecided), is a nice, gentle walk. It’s meant to take about three days, but we completed it over something like five, over the course of the summer. Wouldn’t want to squeeze it all in at once. Besides, we had plans in Matlock Bath.

I'm sure he's famous.

I’m sure he’s famous.

After navigating the steepest, twistiest, narrowest roads I’ve ever seen, we met up with some of Craig’s Glastonbury friends at the Fishbowl for a few drinks and to see Boo Hewerdine. Since he, once again, did not play Geography, Craig gave him a bit of stick while buying his latest CD. Did I say “a bit”? I meant “so much that Boo signed the CD, ‘Sorry for everything.'”

It's not even a one way street.

It’s not even a one way street.

While catching up before the show, I managed to wangle an invitation invited the two of us over to his friends’ house the following night for Eurovision. It was amazing! I had only ever seen it parodied on comedy shows, but the reality is so much worse than I had even imagined. I can’t believe the US hasn’t gotten in on this. Surely, each of the fifty states, DC, and Puerto Rico could come up with something even more ostentatious and outlandish. ‘Muricavision. Get on it networks!

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